Atlantic History : Concept And Contours

854 Words Aug 17th, 2015 4 Pages
The study of the Atlantic as an interwoven community is a relatively new theory. Historians are beginning to see Atlantic History as “a sudden and harsh encounter between two old worlds that transformed both and integrated them into a single New World” , and not just separate entities with detached pasts. Atlantic History: Concept and Contours by Bernard Bailyn lays the framework for what Atlantic History is and how it should be studied. Bailyn states that the reasoning behind writing the book is that previous historians focus too much on the imperial history of the Atlantic world, when in fact the colonized areas had just as much of an effect on European powers as Europe had on their colonies. In this concise two part book, Bailyn’s main argument is that the concept of Atlantic History was inevitable because it is impossible to look at any major event of this time period without seeing its effects ripple throughout the entire Atlantic world.
The first part of the book, The Idea of Atlantic History, focuses on the historiography of Atlantic History. Bailyn determines that the emergence of the field came from twentieth century struggles, especially the World Wars and the beginnings of the Cold War. Historians and journalists wanted a way of bringing the “Atlantic Community” together in opposition to communism. Organizations, like NATO, began to support emerging journals that consolidated all of the important events taking place in the Americas, Europe, and West Africa. In…
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